JOHN INGLIS OF PHILADELPHIA



JOHN, fourth son of John Inglis and Katharine Nisbet, was baptized at Edinburgh on July 25, 1708 in the presence of Mr. David Blair and Mr. William Mitchell, ministers, George Warrender of Bruntsfleld, Archibald Nisbet of Carphin, Adam Brown, late Dean of Guild, and Mr. Alexander Nisbet, apothecary.

He left Scotland before his father’s death, and started as a merchant in the West Indian island of Nevis, where some of his cousins, the Nisbets, were settled.

About 1730 he removed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he spent the rest of his life, rising to a prominent place in the mercantile and civic life of the city.

On October 16, 1736 he married Catherine, daughter of George M’Call, another leading Philadelphian merchant of Scottish descent, and for some years he was in partnership with her cousin, Samuel M’Call.

On her mother’s side Mrs. Inglis was descended from Jöran Kyn, an early Swedish settler on the Delaware, and the ancestor of the largest single colonial stock. The following account of her descent is summarised from a series of articles in the publications of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.1


Jöran Kyn, whose name is variously spelt Jurian (George) Kijn or, after 1665, Keen, was one of a party of Swedish


1Pennayvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. ii. pp. 325 seq., 443 seq.; vol. iii. pp. 206 seq., 452 seq.; vol. v. p. 335 seq.



JORAN KYN                    57


emigrants who started from Stockholm with Governor John Printz in the Ship Fama on August 16, 1642, and on February 15, 1643, after a stormy voyage, ‘by God’s grace came up to Fort Christina in New Sweden, Virginia, at two o’clock in the afternoon.’

They settled at Tinicum, where they built a fort called Nya Gotheburg. In a Rulla signed by Printz on June 20, 1644 and preserved in the Royal Archives at Stockholm, Kyn is included, under his nickname of Snöhuitt (Snow-white), among the Governor’s guards.

The colonists soon outgrew the situation at Tinicum, and began to scatter. In four or five years Kyn gave up his military duties, and obtained at Upland a large grant of land, which had already been cultivated as a tobacco plantation. The property extended along the eastern bank of Upland Kill, now Chester Creek, for a mile and a half above its mouth: at the north-west end it was three-quarters of a mile broad, and it extended eastward along the Delaware as far as Ridley Creek. In 1665 and 1668 his patent was renewed by the English authorities.

A reference to Kyn’ s character is found in a letter by the Dutch Commissary Huygen in 1663, 1 telling of a violent assault by Evert Hendreikson, a Finn, upon ‘the pious Jurriaen Snewit, a man who has never annoyed a child even.’

The last mention of him occurs in January 1687 in a deed whereby he conveyed ground to ‘the people of God called Quakers,’ for building the first meeting-house of Friends in Chester. He probably died some time within the next six years, for his name is not found in Springer’s list of Swedes living on the Delaware in 1693.

His wife’s name is unknown, but he is known to have had two sons, Hans and Jöran, and a daughter Annika, who was twice married. The M’Calls are descended from her through her first husband, James Sandelands.

1Court Minutes, Fort Altena, April 7 and 16, 1663.



58                   JAMES SANDELANDS


James Sandelands, a merchant of Scottish descent, was born about 1636, and is first mentioned in 1665 in a patent for two lots of land at Upland near the Delaware, upon the north side of the Creek or Kill. Five years later he acquired two other lots adjoining the property of Jöran Kyn, his father-in­law, who in 1687 sold him a further parcel of land in Chester.

In 1675, while serving as a captain in the Upland Militia, he was charged with killing an Indian, but was ‘cleared by proclamation.’ A few days later, either on a review of this verdict or for some other misdemeanour, he was fined three hundred guilders, ‘the one halfe to bee towards the building of the new church at Weckakoe and the other to the Sheriffe,’ and he was ‘put off from being Captain.’

Nevertheless he took the position of a prominent and respected citizen. In 1681 he was one of the nine members of Council appointed by the Deputy Governor, and was also made a Justice of the new Upland Court. From 1688 to 1690 he represented Chester County in the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania. William Penn on his arrival in Delaware visited him, and it was ‘talkt among the people that it was intent to have built a city at Upland, but that he and Sanderlin could not agree.’

He died at Chester on April 12, 1692, at the age of fifty-six, and was buried there in the old Swedish burying-ground. His widow married an English merchant named Peter Bayn­ton; on her death in October 1704 she was buried beside her first husband.

James and Annika Sandelands had two sons and four daughters. Catherine, who married for her second husband Jasper Yeates, from whom the M’Calls descend, was the second child, and was born on January 26, 1671. Her first husband, Alexander Creker, died when she was only twenty. The eldest son, James Sandelands, with the co-operation of his brother-in-law, Jasper Yeates, enclosed and covered his parents’ tomb, and from this beginning St. Paul’s Church


JASPER YEATES         59


grew. The tablet indicating the burial-place is still to be seen in the new church.

Jasper Yeates, who married Catherine Sandelands, was a Yorkshireman who had spent some time in the West Indies before settling as a merchant on the Delaware. In 1697 he bought the mills and property at the mouth of Naaman’s Creek in New Castle County; and next year he acquired lands in Chester, erected extensive granaries on the Creek, and estab­lished a large bakery on a site between the present Edgmont Avenue and Chester Creek, near Filbert or Second Street. He also built a ‘venerable mansion’ looking towards the river on the west side of Second Street, about one hundred feet north of Edgmont Avenue.

On erecting the town of Chester into a borough on October 31, 1701, William Penn made Yeates one of the four burgesses, and he was chosen chief-burgess in 1703. In 1694 he had been made a Justice of the Court of Chester County, and during ten years between 1704 and 1720 he was Associate Justice of the Supreme Courts of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties on the Delaware.

On September 25, 1696 he got a seat in the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, which he kept with some inter­missions till his death, and in October 1700 he was elected a representative of New Castle County in the General Assembly of the Province.

Iii October 1701, while a new Charter of Privileges for the colony was under consideration, the disagreement between the Provinces and Territories, which had lasted from 1691 to 1693, was renewed, and Yeates became conspicuous in the discussions as a supporter of the Lower Counties. Failing to carry their measures in the Assembly, the representatives of the Lower Counties withdrew from the House, and on October 14, 1701 appeared before William Penn in Council, with Yeates as their spokesman. Penn seems to have pre­vailed


60                                  JASPER YEATES


upon the two parties to maintain the unity of govern­ment, at least for a time, but on his departure for England in 1703 the representatives of the Lower Counties seceded, and formed a separate Assembly, Yeates being chosen Speaker. He continued to work for complete separation of the Lower Counties from the Province.

Secretary Logan, writing to Penn on January 5, 1709, alleges that his policy was dictated by interested motives ‘Jasper Yeates, a man of working brain for his own interest, found his trade at Chester to fall into a very discouraging decay,’ and therefore aimed at giving his property at New Castle the increased value which would result from that town being made the seat of an independent government.

Mr. Yeates was an original member of Christ Church, Philadelphia, and he was among the first vestrymen of St. Paul’s congregation at Chester. The church at New Castle called Immanuel was erected in 1703, and his name appears in the earliest extant lists of vestrymen of that parish.

Towards the close of his life he removed to a plantation near the town of New Castle, where he remained till his death in 1720. He left a valuable estate, real and personal. Mrs. Yeates survived her husband, by whom she had six children, four sons and two daughters, all of whom lived to grow up.

Anne Yeates, who married George M’Cahl on August 9, 1716, was born on December 27, 1697, and was thus quite young when her father removed from Upland to New Castle.


George M’Call, father of Mrs. John Inglis, was the son of a Dumfrieshire farmer, William M’Call, and emigrated about the year 1701. The M’Call family had been settled for several generations in Nithsdale, first at Guffockland, and afterwards at Kelloside, near Kirkconnel.¹

George M’Ca1l became a wealthy and prominent citizen of Philadelphia, and owned large estates in the city and


¹ Memoirs of my Ancestors, H. B. M’Call, pp. 8, 81, 106, 107.


GEORGE M’CALL       61


county, his town property being chiefly in Front and Union Streets, and near his store and wharf in Pine Street.

0n June 20, 1735 he bought from the Honourable John Penn the Proprietary’s manor of Gilberts, to which he gave the name of Douglas Manor. He paid 2000 guineas for this property, which covered 14,060 acres, and comprised the whole of the present township of Douglas, the upper portion of Pottsgrove, and about one-third of the borough of Potts-town. Down to 1760 all the old Hanover township, now known as the township of Douglas, was commonly called M’Call’s Manor.’ As early as 1725 George M’Call had, in company with Anthony Morris, erected an iron forge at Glasgow on Manatawny Creek.

Mr. M’Call was a vestryman of Christ Church, Philadelphia, from 1721 to 1724, and a liberal contributor to the rebuilding of the church in 1739.

He was elected a Common Councilman on October 3, 1722. He died on October 13, 1740, and was buried on the 15th in the Christ Church ground at Fifth and Arch Streets. The following obituary notice of him appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette of the current week:


‘Philadelphia. Last Monday evening died, after a long Indisposi­tion, Mr. George M’Call, a considerable merchant of this city, who in his Dealings justly acquired the Character of an honest, sincere, dis­interested, worthy Man; and with these good qualifications, better known to his Intimates and Relations to be a warm Friend, a tcndcr Husband, an affectionate Father, and a kind Master, whom he has left in the utmost Concern, all sensible of their irreparable Loss.’


Mrs. M’Call survived her husband, and was buried in Christ Church ground on January 16, 1747. They had fourteen children, ten of whom grew up, Cather­ine, who married John Inglis, being the eldest of the family. She was born in 1717 or 1718. The other daughters were Ann, who married her cousin Samuel M’Call; Mary (Mrs. William Plumstead) ;




Margaret (Mrs. Joseph Swift) ; and Eleanor, who married Andrew Elliot, afterwards governor of New York, second son of Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto, Lord Justice-Clerk. The sons were Jasper, Samuel, George, William, and Archibald.


John Inglis, as has been already mentioned, settled at Philadelphia as a merchant about 1736, and started business in partnership with his wife’s cousin, Samuel M’Call. They seem to have dealt chiefly in hardware, and imported large consignments of iron goods from England and Scotland, especially from Bristol. They also conducted a rope-walk, and owned land and houses in Philadelphia and the neighbourhood.

John Inghis also owned some small ships,1 and was Collector of the Port for many years.

On November 11, 1745 he was elected a Common Council­man, and in 1750 and 1756 he was deputed to settle claims for horses and stores commandeered for the expeditions against Fort Duquesne.

He was one of the merchants who protested, but without effect, against the Act of Assembly passed in 1761 ‘for laying a duty on negroes and mulattoe slaves imported into this Province,’ their chief argument being ‘the many inconveniency’s the Inhabitants have suffered for somc time past for want of labourers and artificers, by numbers being inlistcd for His Majesty’s service, and near a total stop to the importa­tion of German and other white servants.’

John Inglis himself from time to time imported white servants from Scotland, and apprenticed them to various masters under indentures for a term of years, receiving about £18 a head.2


¹Pcnnsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1903—Ship Registers for the Port of Philadelphia, 1726-75; January 20, 1755; September 16, 1765.

² lb., 1906 and 1907.


JOHN INGLIS OF PHILADELPHIA                                                63


In 1748 he was commissioned Captain in the Associated Regiment of Foot of Philadelphia, but as he fell into bad health about 1772, he took no part in the movement which led to the Declaration of Independence.

He was a member of the congregation of Christ Church, where all his children were baptized, and he contributed to the completion of the building in 1739. Fifteen years later, when the congregation had increased beyond its capacity, he was one of those who petitioned the Proprietaries for a grant of land for a church and yard at the south-west corner of Third and Pine Streets. The site was granted, and St. Peter’s Church was built.

His name was also appended to Dr. Franklin’s Proposals for a College, and in 1749, when the University of Penn­sylvania was founded, he was elected one of the original trustees.

In private life he and his wife were among the leaders of Philadelphia society. He was one of the four directors of the first Dancing Assembly, held in 1748, and to the end of his life he was a constant supporter of these entertainments. In 1749 Mr. Richard Peters, in writing to Thomas Penn, says: ¹


‘By the Governor’s Encouragement there has been a very Hand­some Assembly once a fortnight at Andrew Hamilton’s house and store which are tenanted by Mr. Ingliss, make a set of good rooms for such a purpose, and consists of eighty Ladies and as many Gentlemen, one half appearing every assembly night. Mr. Inglis had the conduct of the whole and managed exceedingly well there happened a little mistake at the beginning which at some other times might have produced disturbances. The Governor would have open’d the Assembly with Mrs. Taylor, but she refus’d him, I suppose because he had not been to visit her. After Mrs. Taylor’s refusal two or three Ladies out of modesty and from no manner of ill design excused themselves, so that the Governor was little to his shift, when Mrs. Willing, now Mrs. Mayoress, in a most genteel manner put herself into his way, and on


¹Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. xxiii. p. 527.




the Governor seeing this instance of her good nature, they danc’d the first Minuet.’


Mr. Inglis had his portrait painted about 1770 by Charles Wilson Peale for the City Dancing Assembly. It is now in the possession of his great-grandson, Dr. Henry N. Fisher of Philadelphia, whose father bought it for five dollars in an old furniture shop. Dr. Fisher also has a portrait of Mrs. Inglis.

As late as October 1773, when he was sixty-five years of age and in failing health, his son Samuel wrote: ‘I was made very happy in seeing my Father able to dance a .much better minuet than any of his sons.’

In a panegyric entitled ‘Lines written in an Assembly Room in Philadelphia,’ and attributed to Colonel Joseph Shippen, occur the following verses: ¹

‘A female softness, manly sense,

And conduct free from art,

With every pleasing excellence

In Inglis charm the heart.


‘But see another fair advance!

With love commanding all,

She happy in the sprightly dance,

Sweet, smiling, fair M’Call.’


‘Inglis’ is Katharine, John Inglis’s youngest daughter, and M’Call is her cousin, Margaret M’Call, with whom she lived for many years.

John Inghis was one of the founders in 1749 of St. Andrew’s Society, the members being colonists of Scottish descent, and he succeeded Governor Morris as president.2 His son ,John (the Admiral) was afterwards an honorary member.

He was also a member of the Mount Regale Fishing Company.

He died at Philadelphia on August 20, 1775, and was


¹ Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. xvi. p. 247.

²lb., vols. v. p. :339, xxvii. p. 88.




JOHN INGLIS OF PHILADELPHIA                                                65


buried in Christ Church ground beside his wife, who had died nearly twenty-five years before—in December 1750.

The following notice appeared in the Pennsylvania Mercury: ¹


‘On Sunday morning last after a lingering and painful indisposi­tion, which he supported with great equanimity, died John Inglis Esq. of this city, in the 68th year of his age, a gentleman who early acquired and maintained to the last the character of a truly HONEST MAN. Possessing a liberal and independent spirit, despising everything which he thought unbecoming a gentleman, attentive to business, frugal but yet elegant in his economy, he lived superior to the world, beloved and respected as an useful citizen, an agreeable companion, a sincere friend, and an excellent father of a family.’


Mr. and Mrs. Inglis had eleven children, six of whom grew up—three sons, John (afterwards the Admiral), Samuel, and George; and three daughters, Ann (Mrs. Barkly), Mary (Mrs. Hering), and Katharine. As the Admiral’s home was in Scotland before his father died, he will be noticed later:² the rest are dealt with in the following chapter.

The five children who died in infancy were: ³ (1) George,

baptized April 23, 1739, aged two weeks, buried April 27,

   1739;  (2) Margaret, born March 3, 1740, buried August 7,
; (3) Archibald, apparently born in 1741, buried April 1,     1741;    (4) David, born July 10, 1744, buried January 5, 1745; (5)Katharine, born December 14, 1746, buried June 29, 1747. Mr. Inglis left a considerable fortune. He had estates in

Southwark and Moyamy, and house property in Spruce Street and Christian Street. In 1757 the family were living in a house near the Drawbridge.4

By his will,5 made on April 14, 1775, when he was ‘sick


1 Copied into the Edinburgh Courant, October 21, 1775.

2 Chapter xv.

Philadelphia Magazine of History and Biography, iv. 387; xvi. 451.

³  Pennsylvania Gazette, June 16, 1757.

4 Philadelphia Register of Wills, September 2, 1775; March 24, 1800.




and weak in body, but of sound mind, memory and understand­ing,’ he left £1500 to his daughter Katharine, and £500 in trust for his daughter Mrs. Barkly and her daughter Katharine, and he directed the residue to be divided among five of his chil­dren, omitting John, who was otherwise provided for. The executors named were his three sons, his son-in-law Julines Hering, and his friend James Craig of Philadelphia, ship­chandler. The estate was administered by Samuel Inglis and Mr. Craig, and afterwards by the latter’s son.